When chef-celebs with Road Stoves became all the rage, it was as if we all got in touch with our inner hunter-gatherer. Who doesn’t love trolling corporate parking lots for Korean taco trucks with twin dualies? Still, many tired quickly of places that require visits to Roaming Hunger.
Open for a few months, Peter’s Gourmade Grill requires only the tailgaters spirit of truck eating: there are just a handful of barstools at the counter in front of the Valero gas station it calls home. Still, the actual restaurant is conveniently tethered to the ground, unable to take off leaving you in the wake of diesel exhaust.
Working in a kitchen no bigger than a bus shelter, Le Cordon Bleu, Pasadena-trained chef Pete Stavros and his girlfriend have found a niche. It’s a pic nic adventure sans the Matterhorn-length lines and Twitter feed citing mechanical difficulties. Grab a stool with the sun at your back and the smell of Ariel detergent wafting from the laundromat across the street.
Try the chicken sandwich. The marinated breast is pounded flat and blanketed with melted Swiss cheese. Gossamer parmesan is seared into the sourdough bread. Lettuce, tomato sliced as thin as carpaccio and basil mayo finish off a sandwich that is juicy, elegant and might never be associated with the Big Gulp set were it not wedged between a convenience store and an unleaded pump.Greek fries are molten matchsticks hailed on by feta, oregano, pungent white onion and savory shards of gyro meat served with ketchup and garlic-blasted tzatziki.
Hours are spotty at times, Stavros shops twice a day to restock the icebox. Another day, something was wrong with the ice tea maker, a problem easily fixed by a trip to the adjoining mini mart. This is the kind of food you would expect from an upscale brew pub along with sips of Hefeweizen. Instead you’ll have to be content with a 40 ounce PBR on your tailgate, and is that so bad?
16851 McFadden Ave. Tustin, CA 92780 714.599.3866 Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11:00-3:00 and 6:00-10:00. Closed Sunday.
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